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CNN TONIGHT

Obamacare Repeal Bill Turns Medicaid Into Block Grant Program; Hurricane Maria Devastates Puerto Rico; New Forecast For hurricane Maria; Earthquake In Mexico City; Mueller Wants Docs On Flynn, Comey Firings. Aired 11-Midnight ET

Aired September 20, 2017 - 23:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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[23:00:00] ELIZABETH MURRAY, AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS: ...money try to decide which battle is the most important to fight when it comes to the health of the population.

DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: So from a medical perspective is that what you mentioned, if you retract in this legislation, are those some of the changes you want to make for others?

MURRAY: I would also like to say let us not forget about the chip program that will expire in September 30 that already is a great bipartisan plan in place in the senate.

LEMON: Dr. Elizabeth Murray, we appreciate your time. Thank you so much.

MURRAY: Thank you.

LEMON: This is CNN tonight I am Don Lemon. It is top of the hour 11:00 p.m. here on the east coast. We got a lot of breaking news for you tonight. Hurricane Maria leaving Puerto Rico 100 percent without power as the storm spread destruction in across the Caribbean. We are going to have the latest on its path. And I am going to ask Dr. Bill Nye what he thinks is behind the increase in this severe storms, plus the GOP last attempt to repeal Obamacare, what would it mean for families, kids and millions of people with pre-existing conditions. Let's get right to CNN Derek Van Dam live for us in Puerto Rico right now, Derek good evening to you, we have seen a lot of the big storm over the past few weeks, but the strength of Maria that entered the Caribbean it is almost (inaudible). What are things like right now, where you are?

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN'S METEOROLOGIST: That is right, Don. In fact, Puerto Rican governor calling this the most devastating storm of the century if not in modern times. There is no electricity across the entire island territory and they say that potentially four to six months to restore power to some of the more rural communities across Puerto Rico. The scope of the devastation that has taken place here within the past 24 hours, there is a curfew, and a mandatory curfew in effect from 6:00 p.m. this evening, right through Saturday morning, I am sure it has to do with the prevention of looting, we had those experiences when curfews were instilled across in Miami, when we are covering Irma as well. Just driving around the San Juan region where we are located, streets looks like rivers we had debris that was scrounge across city landscape, sign are tweak, tree snap like twigs, electrical lines laying across the road ways, also leading to electrical problems here. Tropical storm conditions expected to continue all night long and there are still some of the heavier bands in the southeastern quadrant of the storm that will move through across Puerto Rico. This is a very mountainous terrain so we a really squeezing out the moisture that hurricane Maria had to offer. Rainfall totals upwards of 35 inches. Has to go somewhere. It will go rushing we've had a problem with mudslides and landslides. The highest wind gust recorded on the island 137 miles per hour that was before the anemometer actually broke. The good news the mountainous terrain that I was referring to a moment ago actually help break down the storm in some way. The Dominica Republic and Turks and Caicos have a long next 24 hours heading at us storm moves across the region.

LEMON: I know you had been talking to people, but what are people saying in the area near you, were they prepare for this storm, a storm this magnitude?

VAN DAM: How can you be prepared for a category five hurricane, it didn't catch people off guard I believe there was a lot of warning and people took the evacuation away from the coast seriously, but we are speaking to some of the people that we huddled with when we were being evacuated or move in to the center of our hotel as a safety measure. It is incredible, this people move evacuated from Irma two weeks ago to St. John came to San Juan to seek shelter and refuge from Irma and all of the sudden they are face with this monster hurricane Maria that comes barreling through so there is a lot of sadness that they have to deal with this but a lot human spirit is going to rise up over this tragedy that affected this island.

LEMON: Derek Van Dam in Puerto Rico for us, Derek thank you very much. Now I want to go to CNN Pedram Javaheri in the weather center with news on the destruction. There is new forecast out from Maria, what can you tell us?

[23:05:03] PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: the update coming in here they now allowed the Turkey went to expire across Puerto Rico to tropical storm conditions expected to be really a lot of good news. The storm system hasn't really weaken much it sits in 110 mph the immediate concern right out of the storm surge right there across eastern portion of the Dominican Republic on the northern fringe of the island working its way to the south we are getting a slow which is really pumping a tremendous moisture into Puerto Rico still so. The storm moves away but keep in mind the water related element is the number one weather killer when it comes to tropical system is not to win necessarily, so that is in place here and think of Puerto Rico it's an Island here with some 60 percent of its land area covered by mountains and so the especially as a wall of mountains and let us use the analogy of taking a wet sponge putting it up against the wall and pressing against the wall you have water come right down on the side of the wall. Precisely what's happening at this hour as we are getting tremendous moisture being push up against the mountains that rise up to about 4300 feet so that is all in place right now. The storm systems spent about five hours over the mountains but reemerges the eye forms with no problem in the concern moving forward and storm surge threats again, you look at this 4 to 6 feet above what is typically dry ground, 9 to 12 feet on Turks and Caicos that are essentially just coral island. They don't have 9 to 12 feet to give and you're talking a 2 feet of water that could move a car and across the water to bring that up to 4 to 5 feet and just get in the first floor of your house, get up to 10 to 12 feet but of course because the water is the second level of homes, so really talks to this significance of this event that is going to be playing out across Turks and Caicos, but here is the track. We think it push about 40 or so miles east of the islands of Espanola and 50 miles or so east of the Turks and Caicos, that is the best case scenario at this point for the Turks and Caicos is just in the eastern side and the models suggest a continued marching upward and somewhere off the eastern United States coastline here. A lot of people wondering what happens beyond when we get to Saturday, Sunday and Monday of next week.

I got to show you, what Jose got, because we know Jose is the day the longest living tropical system since 1980 and are now 14 days is hung out there every tropical systems, still part of Northeastern coastline, because the steering environment in the atmosphere is almost nonexistent high-pressure part of both the western side of his northeastern this really not getting the storm any room to move in the model hers of the European overlaid in blue and the American red, that is pretty similar to going forward in Tuesday, Monday Tuesday, there are just going back and forth and this has everything in the words to potentially play out as such as Jose had done. Hang out with us for a long time to San Leandro off the coastline and a potentially too close for comfort there is little in Paseo later in the middle of next week into the northeastern coastline there Don.

LEMON: Pedram Javaheri thank you sir, we appreciate that. I want to bring in now Heather Farrell, she and her husband on their honeymoon in Puerto Rico and couldn't get back to Pennsylvania before hurricane Maria struck the island and she joins us by phone or lastly check with you. You are preparing so you have been through, you said you had never been through anything like this before described to us what it was like.

HEATHER FARRELL, SAN JUAN PUERTO RICO: Pretty crazy. I woke my husband up at 2:30 this morning and asked we go to the state room because the winds were pounding against our door and the windows in our room faced the ocean. We left our room at 3:00 this morning and in the shelter until 4:00 this afternoon.

LEMON: Wow, you had to evacuate your room in the middle of the night. What was that like? You went to the safe room. Did you have to just go to one place or did you keep moving around? Some people had to keep moving.

FARREL: No, we actually -- they had one stop for us. We didn't have to move. We got to stay in their ballroom. Once we made our way from our rooms through the tunnels over to there we stayed there until 4:00.

LEMON: Had you stayed in your room, do you think that you would have survived? What did your room end up looking like? Heather, are you there? Oh, we lost Heather. Heather, we spoke to her last night and had just gotten married and took her honeymoon in Puerto Rico and having to deal with this. Do we have her back? We don't. All right. Let's put up the picture. This is a picture of her 3-month-old baby and she was taking care of a 3-month-old baby and there is the 3- month-old baby and anyway. The baby was at home. Go ahead. I'm talking to the producer, stand by, audience, go ahead. Okay. This is the 3-month-old baby. I don't think it was with her. We're glad they're okay and glad someone was taking care of the baby. Heather Farrell from Puerto Rico.

Now I want to bring in Bill Nye, the science guy. He is CEO the Planetary Society and he is also an engineer. Good evening sir, thank you for joining us. I have to ask you this question. I've been wanting to ask you. The United States has been rocked by three massive storms. Harvey, Irma, Maria. Is there a scientific explanation for why we've seen so many powerful storms this year, Bill?

[23:10:15] BILL NYE, CEO, THE PLANETARY SOCIETY: Those of us who accept the science of climate change connect all of these with having more heat energy in the atmosphere. You guys, that is what it is. The sea surface is warmer than it's ever been so the storms are bigger than they've ever been. Now, there was a lot of computer models that were working this problem and figured there would be fewer, -- more intense storms but fewer of them but this year has been storm after storm and we aren't done. The so-called hurricane season which is a little arbitrary runs all the way through November. And I'll just tell you, you know, the problem with these hurricanes is the structures, the infrastructure. They only last a few hours or a day or two, but when all the buildings and especially all the electrical power lines are destroyed and water infrastructure is messed up, that is when you have all this hardship and suffering. So we would prefer us to except the threat of climate change and build our infrastructure, our buildings, our electricity, electrical grid and our freshwater supplies to be more robust.

LEMON: I want to mention someone pushing back on this, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Washington is pushing back on the idea that the massive flooding we saw from hurricane Harvey was caused by climate change or global warming. He says the bottom line is this analysis is that both observations of the past decades and models looking forward to the future do not suggest that one can explain the heavy rains of Harvey by global warming and folks that are suggesting it are poorly informing the public and decision makers. What do you say to that response?

NYE: Well, you know, as we say, he may be right but wouldn't it be good if the infrastructure in Houston could handle that much rain? Wouldn't that be better? How do we come out behind by having superior infrastructure, superior electrical grid, superior clean water supplies? What's the down side of all that? This requires investment. People are reluctant to invest. People are reluctant to set up a tax code that provides more for government infrastructure.

LEMON: In the aftermath of Harvey and Irma the response we got from Scott Pruitt. This wasn't the time to talk about climate change. The United Nations President addressed the storms today. Listen to this.

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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have a big one going right now. I've never seen winds like this and Puerto Rico, you take a look at what's happening there and just one after another. I think we're doing a good job.

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LEMON: The response was widely commended. Are we doing enough to address the root cause?

NYE: I've been at this for almost 30 years now, you know. By means of science education and then as climate change became a political issue, you -- people like you have thrust me into this position. With all that said, wouldn't it be better if we had energy independence and reliable electricity for everyone and provide the internet for everyone, wouldn't life be better? It takes investment and people disagree in what to invest and somehow climate change has become part of this. If you live your life with the belief that humans are not putting more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to make the water in the Gulf of Mexico warmer and make hurricanes stronger, ok. But what about the rest of us in the overwhelming majority of scientists who have been calling attention to this issue since -- well certainly since 1988? The other big deal going on are the earthquakes.

LEMON: Let me ask you about that. 7.1 magnitude earthquake in Mexico City yesterday. Mexico's west coast. I want to put up this map. Mexico's west coast was hit by an 8.1 magnitude earthquake earlier this month. Is there a connection between the quakes or just a coincidence? I was in Los Angeles earlier in the week and felt the one there as well centered in the Westwood area.

NYE: They're completely unconnected. However, the connection for me as an engineer is in the infrastructure. We have an old saying in civil engineering, earthquakes don't kill people, and buildings kill people. So if you are in, for example, the country of Japan, earthquakes are routine and they require buildings to be built to withstand -- earthquakes are still troublesome and people are still very concerned about them, but you don't have the sort of falling apart of infrastructure that we have to a limited extent in the United States and as we saw here in Mexico. It requires investment. You can design buildings that withstand earthquakes. It takes more investment. It takes planning and zoning and thought. But engineers have given it a lot of thought and by embracing this bigger picture, I believe we could improve the quality of life of people everywhere.

[23:15:42] LEMON: Bill Nye, always a pleasure. Thank you for coming on.

NYE: Thank you. Let's save the world.

LEMON: And when we come back major news on the Russia investigation. Special counsel Robert Mueller wants White House documents and emails on the firing of Michael Flynn and James Comey. What it says about the state of the investigation.

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LEMON: Major developments tonight on the Mueller investigation. Let's discuss it now with CNN political analyst April Ryan, CNN Political commentator David Swerdlick and Bob Cusack, editor in chief of The Hill. Bob a long time we were wondering, did we do something? I don't know.

BOB CUSACK, EDITOR IN CHIEF, THE HILL: Not at all. I always love staying up late with you, Don.

LEMON: All right. Good. We're glad about that. So just because of that we'll start with David. So David, there is news tonight about the special counsel Robert Mueller asking the White House for documents related to some of President Trump's activities as reported in the "New York Times." what's the significance of all of this?

[23:20:13] CUSACK: Well there are a couple of things Don. It suggests that in looking at what was going on at the White House specifically around President Trump's White House meeting with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov and comments he made after dismissing FBI Director James Comey that maybe Special Counsel Robert Mueller is trying to build a case around the idea of obstruction of justice, right? Different tracks moving on the Russia investigation. One thing is about what underlying connections there may have been between President Trump's inner circle and people in Russia or with ties to the Russian government. And the other thing is about whether there was obstruction of justice as an attempt to sort of divert the first track of investigation. We don't know yet if any of these things can be firmly established but that is what is suggested by some of these requests that the special counsel's office made.

LEMON: April, by asking for these White House documents what do you think Mueller is looking for here?

APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALIST: He is looking for connections. He wants to connect the dots. You know, this Lavrov comment, this comment from the President to Lavrov was huge in the President's words. He basically talked against Comey and he said he is gone. And it begs the question was he fired because of this Russia investigation? And I talked with then former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder over the summer at the NAACP convention and what Mueller is doing, he has a broad scope and this is within his purview to do this. So it's just -- it keeps unfolding day after day. There are things we still don't know they're doing and uncovering. It is very interesting the twists and turns. We always thought this could be part of this investigation but now we're hearing the affirmation that it is.

LEMON: Bob, listen, is there particular importance to the fact this is the first time the President's actions are directly under scrutiny?

CUSACK: I think it shows the investigation is ramping up. When you think about when this is going to end. It can't end around the election time. If they are going to wrap up this investigation it has to be in the first half of next year and clearly they are leaning on Manafort. They are using very intimidating tactics with him, raiding his house, picking his lock while he is there asleep in the morning. And also threatening indictments and clearly they have some stuff, it appears, on Manafort. What do they want to know from him? The other thing that is interest. Crucial time in the investigation, the Trump lawyers have been at odds as we've seen over the last few days. Will they cooperate? They've been saying they will but now that we're getting into very specific requests we shall see.

LEMON: CNN also has exclusive reporting involving Paul Manafort, President Trump's former campaign chairman. Specifically that investigators got a FISA warrant to wiretap Manafort before and after the election, give me your reaction to that.

CUSACK: I think it was a huge deal. He was campaign chairman and maybe it was what Trump was referring to about the wiretapping tweet. He has been the target of investigation for a long time. That is clear. And then as April said why was Manafort fired? He don't know a lot. But certainly we're starting to learn a lot more. These leaks are also another sign of the intimidation that Mueller's team is putting Manafort under.

LEMON: The investigation as Manafort as I understand from CNN's reporting goes back to 2006 and one of the, I guess the surveillance was 2014. That was before Trump was even running for President. So to say that it was connected to Trump tower or President Trump or Donald Trump the candidate is just not true, because it was back in 2014, Donald Trump again didn't declare his presidency until the summer of 2015. There you go. Let's just -- I want to keep it real here. April, the Russia -- an the Russia front the "Washington Post" reporting Paul Manafort, the former chairman of the Trump campaign offered private briefings to a Russian billionaire aligned with the Kremlin. What's your reaction to that news?

RYAN: On the surface you would say maybe nothing is wrong. But when you dig into what Manafort knows, he knows a lot of sensitive information. And there are a lot of questions. I talked to some national security intelligence folks and they said to me look, here is the thing. The question is, was this meeting just a one-sided meeting where Manafort just gave information and it also begs the question, you know, why did the FBI Make this raid? What does he know? So, you know, there are a lot of questions about this. And just to say you gave information is or had a conversation and gave information is one thing. When you look at who was giving the information to the person they're giving it to, there are a lot of questions that are unanswered and then again, again, again and again this FBI Raid on Paul Manafort's home. What does he know and what does he have? This is very interesting revelation and it is a lot remains to be answered.

[23:25:46]LEMON: Ok then, why, April, is it significant? Does it strengthen the case there was collusion between Russia and the Trump administration?

RYAN: I'm not going to say it strengthens the case, but there are some very strong questions that need some real answers. If Paul Manafort -- even like the President said Paul Manafort had a limited role in his campaign, even that limited role, he was privy to some very sensitive information. So if you are going to talk to a Russian official when there is questions months later. This was just two weeks before the -- well, the then candidate received or accepted the nomination from the Party. This is saying something. And now, you know, months later there is a huge investigation of this President and his administration and those close to him about possible ties or collusion with Russia on throwing the election in the United States. So those questions have got to be answered as to what Paul Manafort did say. Was it a back and forth? Was it an exchange of information or just giving information so the Russian government could overthrow or overturn or do whatever they wanted to do with this election process? So, I mean, the election process in this country is sacred and it is something that the forefathers said no other government or country can interfere in. So the questions are there. Paul Manafort had a position where he knew sensitive information. What was given to the Russian official? That is the big question?

LEMON: All right David, according to the "Washington Post" report there is no evidence the billionaire actually took Manafort's offer. It is appropriate for Manafort to make that offer to begin with?

DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Not at the time that he is serving as President Trump's campaign chair. Nothing in the crucial reporting by my post colleagues today Tom and Adam and Carol, it is a crucial report but no, it doesn't prove that anything illegal was done or there was any collusion or as you say, Don, that this Russian billionaire actually took this briefing. But step back and look at it big picture. You have the email communications between Manafort and representatives of the Russian. You have at different stages of time General Flynn in contact with Ambassador Kislyak. And President Trump's meeting with Foreign Minister Lavrov. Jared Kushner's meeting during the transition with a Russian banker, Sergey Gorka. You start to get this picture again it doesn't prove that there was collusion or anything illegal going on. But you get this picture that totally undercuts the narrative and the White House for a long time. There is nothing to see here and nothing to do with Trump's circle and Russia.

LEMON: But Bob, an hour before a gentleman was saying they were marketing themselves. Nothing to do with the President. It shows they may have had bad dealings and didn't have anything to do with Trump or the Trump campaign. Do you buy that?

CUSACK: That remains to be seen here. Certainly Flynn and Manafort are targets here.

LEMON: To say its marketing when you are running a campaign for someone running for President of the United States.

CUSACK: Right. Well, there is a lot of smoke here. Mueller is trying to find if there is fire. The question is whether I think Manafort and Flynn cooperate and they reveal everything they know. That remains to be seen. In the big picture for Trump, his numbers have gotten a bump recently in the wake of his deal with Democrats and hurricane relief and now as he has called it the Russia cloud comes back and it is not going away any time soon. LEMON: Thank you all. April, happy birthday. Appreciate it.

RYAN: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: When we come back the GOP scrambling for every last vote to push through the healthcare bill, it is healthcare Hail Mary. What's really in this bill and what will it mean for you, plus we will tell, you what former President Obama is saying about the bill.

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[23:30:00] DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: ...and what will it mean for you, plus we will tell, you what former President Obama is saying about the bill.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Senate Republicans last ditch effort to repeal and replace Obamacare picking up support tonight from President Trump. But one Key Republican Susan Collins of Maine not on board yet.

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SEN SUSAN COLLINS, (D) MAINE: I'm going to wait to see the analysis comes out before making a final decision. I expect that analysis will be released on Monday. I'm disappointed to hear, however, that it is going to be only a partial analysis that will not include the impact on coverage, and that is disturbing to me.

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LEMON: Joining me now, CNN contributor Jason Kander former Missouri Secretary of State and the senior economic analyst Stephen Moore former senior economic advisor for the Trump campaign? Here we go again. I thought we would have the last of the conversations and here it is again. Steve, it doesn't look like we'll get a full CBO score before the bill goes up for a vote. How can members of congress understand the full impacts of this bill without it? Susan Collins is waiting but most of the coverage losses won't be in this report.

[23:35:28] STEPHEN MOORE, SENIOR ECONOMIC ANALYST, CNN: There will be a score on what the budget cost is. Some of the other elements, for example on coverage may not get it done on time. I think, look, the big point here -- I've been watching your show all night tonight, Don and your previous discussions on this. When you talk about what states are going to win and what states are going to lose and does this require, you know, coverage for the pre-existing conditions and so on, the whole point I just want your viewers to understand, the point of this is try to replicate in healthcare reform what we did so successfully under Bill Clinton, a Democratic President and Republican congress in the mid-90s with welfare reform. We said we can't handle welfare at the federal level. It is exploding costs. More and more people on welfare. We turned it back to the states and let every one of the 50 states design their own programs and it was one of the greatest success stories in 50 years. It was a bipartisan --

LEMON: Not everyone needs welfare, everyone needs healthcare.

MOORE: The point is what states were able to do. By the way, all of the claims that we're hearing from some of my liberal friends, oh my god, everybody will lose healthcare. These were the kinds of claims that were made on welfare reform. If you look back at what a lot of liberals say my god, we'll is blood on the streets and the people will lose welfare benefits and starve in the streets. None of that happened. What happened is we moved 50 percent of the people off of welfare into jobs. So the point I'm making is we've tried this kind of approach before in federalism and it worked well. Why not try it in healthcare?

LEMON: Then why now then? Republicans had so many years to come up with a fix and now they're coming up with a Democratic fix to a healthcare plan that was pretty much a Republican plan to begin with? This was Romney care. Now you want to fix it with a Bill Clinton plan?

MOORE: I want to use federalism and allow the states to experiment. I think a lot of the governors will tell you look, this will actually save money and potentially increase coverage because a lot of these governors say you given us the flexibility we can find ways to reduce costs and cover more people.

LEMON: A lot of governors are speaking out against it. Jason I'll let you respond. Go ahead.

JASON KANDER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: The majority of Republican governors are against it. Steve is doing an admirable job of not talking about the bill. The reason he is doing that nobody is excited about the bill. It is a healthcare bill that causes fewer people to have healthcare. That seems like a really bad idea.

MOORE: Why do you say fewer people will have healthcare? You turn this money over to the states and they will find ways to provide coverage? Why would Texas, Florida or other states drop people from health insurance?

KANDER: Because it's a fact. Everybody knows it's a fact. The reason the CBO -- the reason they'll try to act among any other reasons on this before the CBO comes out with the full report, which as you said would include coverage, is because they know that it is going to be really bad news for the bill. What they learned from this last debacle on Trump care was not that you should cover more people or be more generous and more compassionate, you should employ for secrecy. They'll try to move faster through the process to get this done. Folks don't want this. They should take the hint. MOORE: Nobody is excited about this bill.

KANDER: The vast majority of Americans and people influential in the healthcare space, insurance, and all sorts of folks are stepping forward and saying this is a bad idea. Chris Christie, who I'm pretty sure at this point would do just about anything that President Trump asked him to do said today he is against this bill. Nobody likes this bill. They should just take the hint and not do this.

MOORE: When you say nobody wants this bill.

LEMON: This is -- take a look at this map. Some states would make out better than others under this bill it would reduce federal spending on health insurance and cost 34 states to lose such funding. States with relatively low medical costs and no program expansion would gain money and states with higher-priced medicine and generous benefits for their low income residents such as California and New York would lose billions of dollars. Here is the thing. They are taking money from the blue states that took Obamacare money and giving it to the red states that didn't want Obamacare money.

MOORE: Wait a minute. If you look at that map, don, what it is showing the wealthier states with higher per capita income states like New York and Connecticut and California are going to lose money relatively and the poorer states that have more poor people are going to get more money.

[23:40:04] But look, I think again you are missing the point. If these states -- we've had a couple of experiments where we allowed states to have these block grants where we said here is your set amount of money. Go out and find ways to provide coverage for people and save money. Rhode Island did this and a couple of things Rhode Island did to give an examples that states actually can save money. For example, with Medicaid they started putting small co-payments on if you went to the emergency room and things like that. It saved huge amounts of money for the state and they can provide expanded coverage. They allowed the state of Rhode Island to put senior citizens, a lot of people on Medicaid are seniors, the take them out of the nursing homes and give them home care which the seniors wanted. They wanted to be in home care not in the nursing homes and saved money. There are ways that states can find to save money and make the system more efficient, reduce costs and cover more people. I just believe that to be the case.

KANDER: Let me get this straight you want to provide more flexibility to the states by making them do -- by making them to do some stuff that currently Rhode Island has the flexibility to do. First of all let me just say.

MOORE: No. We're not making the states do anything. The only regulations are the only ones under Obamacare.

KANDER: You want to create flexibility and kick people off health insurance.

MOORE: No, no, no. Why do you assume -- why do you assume that state --

KANDER: I'm from a state that didn't expand Medicaid. States decided not to provide health insurance. This is empirical evidence that it happens.

MOORE: But you are also from a state by the way where Obamacare premiums are going up 25, 30 or 40 percent. Why would you want to keep that system in place because people can't afford the healthcare? KANDER: I would like to President to first stop trying to undermine

that system. Stop trying to make that happen. Second, the President of the United States, the previous one gave a speech just today where he said you know what? There are some things that could be done. He said this many times. There are some things that could be done to improve this. But look.

MOORE: I believe that, too.

KANDER: I think everybody including its namesake, President Obama. That is not what is happening. What's happening is they're saying first of all, Senator Grassley said that there is probably 10 reasons why this shouldn't even be considered but it is a campaign promise. So they have to be for it. You know what campaign promises don't actual provide healthcare.

MOORE: We had a referendum in the election to get rid of Obamacare and that was the central promise they made and they have to deliver on that promise.

LEMON: They don't have to rush it through. This is healthcare we're talking about. People's lives. Not like a goal post and time clock that runs out. Coming up, First Lady Melania Trump made a speech at the U.N. that had some people scratching their heads and we'll tell you why. That is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:47:15] LEMON: First lady Melania Trump making a speech condemning bullying. Here to discuss is CNN political commentator Margaret Hoover, a former White House staffer for George W. Bush political contributor Hilary Rosen and political commentator Scott Jennings, a former special assistant to George W. Bush. Did you guys work together?

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: We did.

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: We did. Reunited.

LEMON: OK. Listen, the first lady Melania Trump made a speech at the U.N. condemning of all things bullying specifically cyberbullying. Let's listen to some of her remarks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELANIA TRUMP, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Our own example we must teach children to be good stewards of the world they will inherit. We must remember that they are watching and listening so we must never miss an opportunity to teach life's many ethical lessons along the way. As adults we are not merely responsible, we are accountable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Listen, can we just be honest, Scott? Are you with me?

HOOVER: We're always honest.

LEMON: You find the statement ironic. Should we remind her that she is -- who her husband is? This is some of his tweets, Mitt Romney, one of the dumbest and worst candidates in the history of Republican politics is now pushing me on tax returns. Dope. How can a dummy dope like Harry Hurt who wrote a failed book about me who doesn't know about me be discussing Trump. Word is that, crying Glen Beck left the GOP and doesn't have the right to vote in a Republican primary. Dumb as a rock.

HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: And this week of course he tweeted hitting Hillary Clinton in the head with a golf ball. Let's just talk about cyberbullying.

HOOVER: Scott and I worked in the White House for George W. Bush. First lady Laura Bush picked an initiative and she talked about teachers a lot and reading a lot. These two issues are important issues. She was able to shed light on them in a very substantive way and put a light on the Nobel work that teachers do and encourage young men and women to go into the field of teaching and picked issues that were entire a part from her husband's agenda. Anything that was confused would be controversial. And the best advice for a first lady is to stick to issues that have nothing to do with your husband's agenda and that are not ironic and not controversial.

[23:50:06] LEMON: OK. Completely contradicted by her husband's own behavior, not that this is a Noble cause. Isn't someone advising her that this is one you should stay away from, Scott?

JENNINGS: I think increasingly we've seen first ladies step out on their own and pursue an agenda that is separate from their husband's agenda. She left office with her husband as one of the most popular first ladies we've ever had.

LEMON: She didn't really get involved on policy issues. She actually stayed away from --

ROSEN: I mean, she did. She picked issues that were different --

JENNINGS: Childhood obesity and nutrition.

LEMON: But she did that and President Obama was one of the fittest people to take office as President of the United States. If her husband was unfit, then we would be saying well, maybe we should look closer.

ROSEN: Here is the thing that makes no sense, really, which is that she is been talking about this for several months now, bullying, and right. And like everybody has said how dumb this is that she could bring so much more to the table, right, that she could pick a ton of other issues --

LEMON: I would say ill advised. I have to get to the break.

HOOVER: Politically dumb because she gets nowhere on it.

ROSEN: It doesn't advance her as first lady.

LEMON: Like I said, it's a noble cause, and she should be doing those, but her own President -- her own husband is contradicting her. I've got to take a break.

ROSEN: I'm not saying she is dumb. I'm saying this is a dumb issue for her --

LEMON: We'll be right back.

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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[23:55:35] JIMMY KIMMEL, JIMMY KIMMEL SHOW: I get it. I don't understand because I'm a talk show host, right. Then help me out. Which part don't I understand? Is it the part where you cut $243 billion from federal health care assistance? Maybe I don't understand the part of your bill in which federal funding disappears completely after 2026 or maybe it was the part where the plans are no longer required to pay for essential health benefits like maternity care or pediatric visits.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: OK. Jimmy Kimmel went on and on and on responding to Bill Cassidy on "New day" this morning and I don't have much time. What do you make of it?

ROSEN: I'll just say one quick thing. If you out there do not know what to think of Graham/Cassidy, Jimmy Kimmel is actually speaking facts. Listen to Jimmy Kimmel's monologue.

LEMON: Do you think it will pass?

HOOVER: Every day this goes on the harder and harder. You can't spare any votes. You need McCain, Shelley Moore Capito and Susan Collins.

LEMON: And you don't want to take on Jimmy Kimmel.

HOOVER: Well, Donald Trump certainly could.

ROSEN: These Republican governs are probably going to make the difference. One way or the other.

LEMON: Scott what do you think?

JENNINGS: I think is a great chance to pass and again we're back here at the place where if this bill passes the senate it does not become law immediately. This is a much different bill than passed the house. It will have to go back to the house. They'll have to reconcile difference. There's still a long way to go before we see major changes in health law. It sends it back to the states. That is a major step forward in the eyes of a lot of conservatives.

LEMON: I got to run. You could say in half a second.

HOOVER: Donald Trump has got to get in it, Scott, because you can't get it done with the congress.

JENNINGS: He is all over it.

LEMON: That is it for us tonight, thanks for watching. Our live coverage continues next with John Boss in Mexico City.

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